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How to save the planet and make society more equal


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Presentation on carbon fee and dividend as a politically feasible means of imposing carbon taxes which are progressive, don't cause unemployment, and stop climate change.

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How to save the planet and make society more equal

  1. 1. How to save the planet and make society more equal By Zeeshan Hasan
  2. 2. Why are students striking for climate?  Increasing awareness since last October of severity of climate change  Global warming definitely
  3. 3. 2018 UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report  Global warming must be limited to 1.5 C  Only 12 years left to prevent dangerous warming of more than 1.5 C by big annual reductions of fossil fuels  Currently the world is on track for catastrophic warming of 3-4 C, which would leave many tropical and sub-tropical prone to droughts, crop failure, food shortage and civil unrest
  4. 4. Syrian war fueled by drought  After a severe multi-year drought in Syria from 2006-9, millions of people migrated from agricultural areas to cities, and ultimately started rioting.  Civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, causing a huge refugee crisis  A glimpse of the future if climate change is not stopped
  5. 5. The danger of Hothouse Earth  Actually IPCC is optimistic  “Feedbacks” in climate system could worsen warming  Polar ice reflects
  6. 6. Earth 5C hotter (James Lovelock, Revenge of Gaia)
  7. 7. Carbon tax: The logical solution, but unpopular ● Basic problem: Fossil fuel prices only reflect the cost of extraction of coal, oil and gas. ○ The massive costs of global warming are ignored in fuel prices. ○ This a huge failure of the market! ● This market failure to price fossil fuel at their true cost to society can be fixed by carbon tax ○ We already accept this logic for tobacco  tobacco causes many health costs not captured in price of cigarette manufacture, and so is taxed heavily.
  8. 8. Problem: carbon taxes may be regressive Any regressive tax is generally unpopular  Even the poorest use some fossil fuels/carbon intensive products, which become more expensive with carbon tax.  Lower income groups should not be pushed into ‘fuel poverty’ by carbon taxes which leave them unable to afford household heating, transport etc.  Hence Macron’s clumsy attempt at
  9. 9. The solution: Carbon Fee And Dividend ● Carbon tax/’fee’ charged to coal, oil and gas companies, and accumulated in a national fund  Tax charged to fuel companies at point of extraction, refinement or import; no paperwork for consumers ● A flat ‘Dividend’ from fund paid back equally to all individual taxpayers  Rewards everyone with lower than average fossil fuel consumption  Penalizes everyone with higher than average fossil fuel consumption
  10. 10. Fee and dividend is progressive  Wealthier people:  consume more fossil fuels (more flights, more fuel for bigger homes and more cars)  So pay more in carbon tax  All get the same flat dividend  So they pay a net tax  Poorer people:  consume less fossil fuels (fewer flights,smaller home to heat, public transport instead of car)  So pay less in carbon tax  All they get same flat dividend  So they get a net benefit
  11. 11. Tax has to be popular / sustained  Lower income people are immediately better off.  So the system should immediately get popular support.  Carbon tax has to be popular!  Otherwise subject to random political/electoral cycle  To slow global warming, carbon tax has to be sustained  To stop global warming, carbon tax has to increase each year  until fossil fuels replaced by renewables.
  12. 12. “What about China?”  Countries imposing carbon tax can levy “border adjustments” on all imports from countries without carbon tax  Like an import tariff; equal to the tax which would have been collected on that product made locally  If UK/EU/US/Canada all do this, countries such as China exporting goods into these
  13. 13. Won’t carbon taxes cause “oil price shock” like 1970s?  In 1970s, OPEC production cuts made fuel prices rise, causing huge recession and unemployment – Then, oil importing countries lost the tax revenue in fuel import payments. So oil producers like Saudi Arabia were collecting the “carbon tax”.  With Carbon Fee and Dividend, local
  14. 14. What about plastic?  Oceans are choking on plastic  Plastic is everywhere because it is too cheap  Plastic is made from petrochemicals!  Carbon tax which makes fossil fuels expensive will also make plastic expensive
  15. 15. Endorsed by climate scientists  Dr. James Hansen, formerly of NASA, is one of the world’s most eminent climate scientists  First testified to US Congress in 1980s
  16. 16. Fee And Dividend succeeded in Canada; why not the UK? In Canada, after continuously lobbying for years, CCL got the support of enough MPs to pass a carbon fee and dividend policy  effective from January 2019! ● The UK should be next!
  17. 17.  Worldwide group of volunteers dedicated to promoting carbon fee and dividend  Focuses on  Spreading